On this day, September 3rd, 1984 I was leaving my home in Seattle, Washington flying to California where I would spend the next 3 weeks visiting friends and surfing on the California coast. I was a young kid in the US Army and I just completed my paperwork to enlist in the United States Marine Corps to become a man.
My first official day of training to become a Marine, I met this man, Bill Durdin. He was my Senior Drill Instructor. He was larger than life! He was the embodiment of every foul rumor and nightmare of a DI that I've ever heard, times ten! I remember thinking how his face even looked as if he was a resurrected skeleton, risen from the depths of hell. He was now up front, in face, in my nightmare-come-to-life, to ensure that if I made it past him, I would be worthy of the title Marine and could serve in his beloved Marine Corps.
My step-father was in the Navy and, as Navy life goes, was never around. I never had any significant male role models in my life.
This man became the most influential person in my entire young life. I survived US Army basic training, but that was simply a modified Boy Scout summer camp. I never had anyone so dramatically impact my life as this man. Even now, as I look at my day-to-day activity and behavior, his influence is still a part of me.
Most of you reading this may never fully comprehend the significance and far-reaching impact Marine Corps Bootcamp has on someone. But my fellow Marines will fully understand what I'm attempting to explain here.
Through the magic of Facebook, Bill and I are now "friends" and, since I'm also a US Marine (thanks to SDI Durdin), we are brothers.
I wanted to say thank you and express my gratitude to Bill with the finest bourbon ever created, Big Stick Bourbon,
Everything about this bourbon shouts "OOHRAH!" like a platoon of "boots" winning final drill for their Senior Drill Instructor!
In a couple of hours Bill will receive my "HOORAH!" My big "thank you" for his impact upon my life.
I wanted him to know that a day hardly goes by that his influence in my life is not evidenced in my actions, mannerism and character.
My passion and enthusiasm for helping others become their absolute best comes from the way in which this man empowered me to become my absolute best when I earned the title: "Marine!"
Bill, when you get this in a couple of hours, as you experience the smoothest tasting bourbon ever crafted, think of all the boys you shaped into men by making them Marines. This, my friend and brother, makes you legendary! This is why the Marine Corps shall always remain immortal!
Saturday, one of my friends had invited me over since he was throwing some stuff on the grill and heading to the pool. Since I’ve been held up in The Black House, alone for weeks, I took him up on the offer. On my way there I texted him to see what I should bring.
Sidenote: this friend NEVER comes to anything empty-handed.
Anyway, I’m usually trifling and come empty-handed to things, but since it was him, I asked if I should bring anything. He said no, and I’m glad he did, because I’d get a lesson, later, out of it. I get there, chill for a bit, and we figure we’d go get a bottle somewhere. When we get to the liquor store, there’s a guy at a table selling doing a spiel pushing Big Stick Spirits Bourbon.
As someone who’s done sales, canvassing, or any kind of outbound, cold-calling interactions, I admired the guy’s tenacity. He wasn’t just reaching out to certain folks, he did the same spiel for EVERY single person that came through that door... And with the same enthusiasm.
... so when he got to me, I stopped and listened. I’ll admit, initially I stopped because I thought he was offering free samples, but he wasn’t.
He just gave his spiel about how and WHY the whiskey he sold was good.
Dude had PASSION in his words. Dude was speaking as if what was in that bottle would change the world. As he continued, I listened and thought “Wonder who he works for,” until he answered the question without me asking.He was cofounder! I was inspired. I knew the whiskey would be good.
Know why? Because there’s just something about a business owner that sets up a fu--ing table at Wine World on a Saturday and pushes with the tenacity that guy had. There’s something in the PROCESS that says “Hey, we may not be some national brand (yet) but damnit, here we go.” And I was THERE for it. I didn’t even ask how much it was, because I was sold. There wasn’t some third-party temp agency pushing his whiskey... There wasn’t some paid employee pushing it either.
It says something about a business when the owners have HEART. Ever go to a restaurant and see the owners working the register, bringing out food, and sweeping up? Just by their presence they raise the stock of the place. Everyone rises to the occasion. And there’s probably something YOU'RE passionate about, similar to the passion the guy has about his whiskey brand.
And perhaps instead of you rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard, necessary work of setting up a table and talking to everyone who walks in to wine world, you’re waiting on some temp agency to fill in. But there’s a problem. The temp worker can’t duplicate the passion that YOU have for your project/idea. And therefore it wouldn’t have convinced me to buy it. What are YOU holding back on?
On the ride back to my friend’s, place I wondered what the guy’s thought process was that led to him rolling up his sleeves and hitting the ground himself? Long story short, I tried it later and it’s BOMB AF. If you get a chance, go like their FB page, and order a bottle. I wholeheartedly endorse the product. If we had the chance, we’d endorse YOU too. Now, get on out there!